The Week That Was: Global News In Review

Foreign Policy Brief #144 | By: Ibrahim Castro| June 06, 2024
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Global News in Review 06/07/2024

Members of the Texas National Guard stand near a razor wire fence used to prevent migrants from crossing into the United States from Mexico along the Rio Bravo river, January 22, 2024
[File: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]

Biden’s asylum ban

The Biden administration has recently instituted a broad asylum ban on migrants caught crossing the US-Mexico border. Migrants caught crossing illegally can now be quickly denied asylum claims and deported or turned back to Mexico under the measure. The US Department of Homeland Security has said there will be exceptions for unaccompanied children, people who face serious medical or safety threats and victims of trafficking. Biden has shifted his approach to border security further to the right as immigration has again emerged as a top issue for Americans in the run-up to the US Presidential elections where he will once again face Donald Trump.

The measure will prevent any migrants who cross the southern border without authorization from applying for asylum if the average number of unauthorized daily crossings passes 2,500. Last month the average number of unauthorized daily crossings reported by the US Border Patrol was 3,700. The new regulations are said to remain in place until the number of unauthorized crossings drops below a daily average of 1,500. With the restrictions to be reimposed whenever numbers increase again. Still, operational questions about the measure’s implementation remain unclear, including how the administration would quickly deport migrants from far-away countries and how many non-Mexican migrants Mexico would be willing to accept under the new enforcement policy.


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The location of burial sites identified on satellite imagery close to the Al Raqw migrant camp. Photograph: Maxar/HRW

Saudi Arabia: Mass Killings of Migrants

According to a new report by Human Rights Watch, titled: They Fired on us Like Rain, details Saudi border guards who are claimed to have killed hundreds of mainly Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers, who made their way across the Yemen-Saudi border between March 2022 and June 2023.  Approximately 750,000 Ethiopians reside and work in Saudi Arabia. While many migrate for economic reasons, a large number have fled because of human rights abuses and armed conflict in Ethiopia. The report stated that a UN backed investigation should be launched and “if committed as part of a Saudi government policy to murder migrants, these killings, which appear to continue, would be a crime against humanity”.



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Garry Conille addresses the audience during a ceremony with members of the transition council, where he is presented as Haiti’s interim Prime Minister, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti June 3, 2024. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Ero

Situation in Haiti 

Haiti’s new interim Prime Minister Garry Conille stated that the new administration and other leaders in the country were setting aside their differences to work for the good of the country, which is battling a devastating crisis fuelled by gang wars. According to Unicef, as many as 4.4 million people in the country are in urgent need of food assistance, and 1.6 million people face emergency levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition. A Kenya-led mission to help Haitian police and security forces combat the gangs is expected to arrive in the Caribbean nation in the coming weeks. The mission has been supported by the US, which will not be sending troops but will be providing logistical support to the mission, including intelligence sharing, communications, and air power.



Riots in New Caledonia

Mass protests erupted in New Caledonia after France’s parliament voted to implement electoral reforms that would allow French residents who have lived in the Pacific Islands territory for 10 years or more to vote in provincial elections. The Islands Indigenous Kanak community, who make up 40% of the islands’ population, fear these reforms will undermine their efforts to win independence from France. The French government imposed a strict crackdown on the protests, deploying troops to New Caledonia’s ports and international airport, with hundreds of heavily armed French marines and police patrolling the capital, Noumea. The government also temporarily banned TikTok, and placed those it accused of organizing the protests under house arrest.

At least seven people were killed in the latest civil unrest, with barricades erected across major roads and commercial sites looted and set on fire. New Caledonia has been a French territory since colonization in the late 1800s. Politics remains dominated by debate about whether the islands should be part of France, autonomous or independent, with opinions split roughly along ethnic lines.

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